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P.M. Question Time

News/Business. The British Prime Minister answers questions from the floor.

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Spain 9, Europe 8, David Cameron 4, Scotland 3, Ireland 3, Us 2, Linda Robinson 1, Barrazo 1, Justin Levisohn 1, Mr. Davis 1, Jerry Sabo 1, Jacques Chirac 1, David Davis 1, Don 1, Lord 1, Bbc 1, Nacional 1, Unturned 1, Mr. Cameron 1, John 1,
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  CSPAN    P.M. Question Time    News/Business. The British Prime  
   Minister answers questions from the floor.  

    December 31, 2012
    12:00 - 12:30am EST  

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parliament's year end review and negotiations following the fiscal cliff. >> tomorrow >> tomorrow and "washington journal" the fix the debt campaign, a ball by the teacher of special operations with linda robinson with the council on correlation -- foreign relations. >> next, bbc parliament's westminster review takes a look back at all the major reviews. the debates with the prime minister on the british economy and the european union budget. the british parliament is in recess for the holidays. members return on january 7th.
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>> hello there. and welcome to the west minister review. our look back at the big events in parliament over the last three months. coming up in this program, the chancellor delivers the latest bleak economic view? his budget. david cameron's bench urges him to stand up to europe. >> i support absolutely. >> the ugly specter of child abuse hits the deadlines with some dramatic consequences. lord justin levisohn delivers his plan on press standards. >> we should be wary of any legislation that has the potential to infringe free speech and a free press. >> the queen sits in on a
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cabinet meeting at number 10. but let's begin with the subject which has dominated politics and our pockets for many months, the state of our economy. at the start of december the chancellor came to deliver his autumn statement or mini budget. it set out the latest figures for the growth, tax and benefits. among the headlines the scrapping of a planned rise in fuel tax. a 1% rise in working benefits an increase at the threshold in which people begin to pay tax. he would have to extend austerity measures until 2015. >> the deficit is coming down, coming down this year and every year of this parliament. yes, the deficit is far too high for comfort. we cannot relax our efforts to make our economy safe. but britain is heading in the right direction. >> money would be spent on infrastructure projects like road and rail.
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>> he moved on. >> those will see it rise by an average of 1%. in a similar approach of a 1% rise should apply to those in receipts of benefits. ensurefair and it will that we have a welfare system that britain can incur. >> that would cut taxes to 21%. the chancellor moved on to the topic of fuel. >> there is a 3% rise. somehow suggested that we delay it until april. i disagree. i suggest we cancel it all together. >> and finally he moved to changes to the amount people earned before paying tax. >> people will have $9,444 before paying any tax at all. this is a direct boost in the incomes of people working hard to provide for their families. it's 47 pounds next year in total of $267 pound cash next
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year. people working full-time on the minimum wage will have seen their income tax bill cut in half. and what we learned today is that growth is being downgraded, this year, next year, the year after, the year after, and the year after that too, mr. speaker. the longest double dip reception since the second world war, now followed by the slowest recovery in the last 100 years. >> when now the latest flicks shows business confidence falling, when the world economy is slowing, when the euro is at such chronic difficulty while plans the chancellor's fiscal strait jacket tightens further next year. it is simply reckless and deeply irresponsible for this chancellor to plow on with a fiscal plan we all know is failing on what he set.
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the fiscal rule is broken on every target they set themselves -- failing, failing, failing. cutting the trade, more borrowing, cutting taxes for the rich while struggling families and pensioners pay the price. unfair, incompetent and completely out of touch. >> ed boils and david cameron duking it out over the economy. are these really the bleakest economic times in recent history? and if things are so bad why haven't the british like say the people of greece or spain taken to the streets? to discuss this i'm joined by ian beg who is a research fellow at the london school of economics. so professor beg, we hear talk
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this being the worst recession since the second world war. is it? >> it's been a long recession and it's very slow to see any kind of recovery. but it's also worth remembering statistically although being one of the worst in the last century, we actually today are as well off as in 2006. we've only gone back by a few steps. >> is it simply a case that it feels like the worst recession that anyone can remember? >> it's the fact that it hasn't gone to a recovery phase. tore used to in a recession have a deep downturn followed bay quite rapid recovery. it takes longer to readdress individual positions in their debt. and that means that it lasts much longer than everybody expects because everybody tries to save. >> so if things aren't very bleak across europe, why is it that in some countries as in
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greece and in spain we've seen the protest? >> i put greece out on its own because the magnitude of the downturn in greece has been phenomenal. it's had six recessive years. the loss of income is of the order of 20% to 30% on average. we've had nothing like that in this country. we're almost due to be back next year to where we were in 2007. it's not as though we've had a massive loss of income. so that's a fundamental loss of explanation. there are also cultural differences in some countries there is more of a tradition of having riots. if for instance, you contrast ireland and spain very similar pathologists a problem leading to the downturn. in ireland there were muted protest. in spain we've seen that the indignants have been on the
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streets of madrid since 2010. these are the sorts of differences that are the result of different cultural attitude to what's going on. >> it is a different cultural thing in history than people have done in the past? >> you would add to that that in spain they got use to a never-ending prosperity. in a decade prior to 2007, spain had been the booming economy of europe. at one stage during the previous decade, nearly half the jobs created in europe were in spain alone. that brought in a huge amount of immigration. now we're seeing the other side of that. which is the immigrants have lost their jobs and the workers have lost their jobs. and in spain also there was a difference between those with permanent contracts with strong employment protection and the great bulk of people who are being employed on what's being called temporary contracts. they chopped down. we haven't seen that in the
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u.k. where the unemployment really hasn't reason as a result of such a deep downturn. >> is that the key factor given that we have had unrest in the past in bad economic times? do you think this time it's the unemployment figures that have made the difference? >> it clearly made a big difference because it shared the burden where whole industries would be wiped out or close to wiped out like the coal and steel industries in the 1980's. there was a focus for decent, a focus for protest. now it's more widely spread. someone in their street has lost their job. maybe a small closure but nothing like the massive closures we witnessed in the early 1980's. if things don't get better very slowly does that start to put a strain on democracy? is that why we've seen a rice
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in some of these extremist parties in europe? >> you have to be careful associating them directly with recession. the french national front was as strong and appeared in austerity when jacques chirac the leader of the nacional he was second in the french election. so the socialists were out even though it was relative prosperity. they have gone backwards rather than forwards. what you have seen and i think this is exceptional is that the green there's the rice of the golden don, the neo fascist party. it's not mass political success. so i think you can say it's minor protest rather than a serious movement towards right- wing of what we saw in the 1930's. >> professor, thank you very much to dom see us.
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well, let's stay with europe because it was a subject that the government suffered an embarrassing defeat in the house of commons. the rouse was over the budget. it was due to be discussed in november and david cameron said he wanted it frozen. but many of his own benches believe that didn't go far enough. and instead of the increase, they wanted a real terms cut. the day started with some robust exchanges as the labor leader challenged mr. cameron over his stance. >> at a time when he's cutting the education budgets by 211%. the transport budget by 15%. and the police budget by 20%. how can we even be given up cutting the budget before the negotiations have begun? we have to make cuts in budgets because we're dealing with a record debt in deficit. but if he wants to talk about consistency, perhaps he can
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explain why his own members of the european parliament voted against the budget freeze that we achieved last year. perhaps he could explain why the socialist group the european parliament are calling not for a freeze in the budget or an increase, but for a $200 billion euro increase in the budget. and while they're at it, they want to get rid of the rest of the economic rebate. >> reality is this -- he can't convince anyone in europe. last year he flounced out of the december negotiations with a veto and the agreement went ahead anyway. he threw in the towel even before he's begun. he's week abroad. he's week at home. he's john major all over again. >> a few hours later the common debate on the e.u. budget began in earnest. >> now, i think this
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multiannual framework, the e.u. budget a simple word to use is insane. to ask for a 10% real increase above inflation is insulting to our constituents. it's insulting to the people of spain and italy and portugal and ireland who are being told to pull in their belts. >> is it the truth of the matter that literally the only way that you can be sure that you end up with a less than inflation increase is by not announcing that you're going to use it and by making sure that you negotiation all the way through? it's a child that announces on the first day of the negotiations that they're going to use the veto because of course the commission gets its way. >> i have had police officer who is came to my surgery and they understand that their pay is frozen. they're less happy about the terms and conditions. they're less happy about not getting their increments. but what they don't understand
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is why other elements of budget and in particular the european union should be guaranteed inflationary increases, let alone inflationary increases all the way through 2020. >> i'm very grateful to the honorable member who i personally have the utmost respect. does she have the utmost respect for the members opposite who voted time and time to give away our powers and our money to the european union and hope to wrap themselves? >> when they send us our bill, no, we sent you what we agreed. anre not going to send you increase. >> i'm quite convinced that if we were not in coalition with the liberal democrats. the members will be voting for the amendment tonight. the problem is that -- of course -- >> i'm grateful for that. it has nothing to do, mr. speaker, whether this is a coalition amendment or a
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conservative amendment. it's a realism vs. unreality debate. >> in the past the conservative party was devised on europe. but frankly the conservative party is united on europe. we're all opposed to this increase in the budget. i support it absolutely. >> if their prime minister achieves a freeze in the european union budget, he would have done something that no other prime minister has managed to achieve. >> and all just happening on these bunches when the hot prime minister says he is going to achieve something, there are those somewhat self-indulgent seeking to set an even higher hurdles. it is unreasonable and it's unfair. and if this party hopes to be
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in government the next general election, it's just got to gate grip and stop supporting the prime minister. >> but despite that impassioned plea when it came to the vote the government was defeated by 13. david cameron was due to set out his views in the middle of january. i'm pleased to say that the processor is with me. just how close did we come on that deal on the e.u. budget in new york? >>the zeal was very early done but the germans blocked it in because they were so afraid of the president of the european council that they said we'll postpone innocent. the deal will probably be done march of next year. it's going to be consistent with what david cameron wants. >> that's not going to be happy to keep the back benches. >> i think the back bench would have to have a massive cut which is inconceivable.
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>> thank you very much, indeed. >> now at the start of october, the alleged child abuse over sabo. >> he had been a household name. he had access to young children, hospital patients and those in that. it also led to fresh abuse claims in other unconnected cases. in november the home secretary came to the commons to give details of a new inquiry into the way police handle child abuse. >> last friday, a victim of sexual abuse at one of the homes named in the report mr. steve alleged that they are not true. child abuse is a hateful
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abhorrent and disgusting crime. and we must not allow these allegations to go unanswered. i believe the whole house will also be united to send messages of this why would abuse. if you go to the police about what you have been through, those of us in positions with authority and responsibility will not shirk our duty to support it. we must do everything in our power to do everything to help you and everything we can to get to the bottom of these terrible allegations. >> there are three bbc inquiries into what happened to jerry sabo. a c.p.s. inquiry into an hmic into other forces who may have support over sources. we already have other concerns.
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it should be brought under a single call. these multiple inquiries have no quay to get together, the lessons that needed to be learned. oh, we need to go get the bottom of what is happening in each case. but at the moment, the framework that the government sends out risks being confused. >> 20 people were reported. a judge assumes that with any future child a child where will that never happened. it must get to the bottom of why there was no follow-up police investigation. >> i was a counselor representing rex and acquiring the northwest. but i did look at the panel that was never published.
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and let me say that no stone will be left unturned. those responsibility for these dreadful crimes will be punished. >> as former social workers in wales, i have to say that i welcome this morning's statements. but if this is to be an examination we have to look at the reasons why it was able to happen. we are still policing them because of the cost and because there are literally no longer local authorities, children homed in which places can be found vulnerable children. >> well, the bbc was on the investigation about what the sabo journalists mean. there was a storm to come in the wake of those claims of abuse in north wales where they wrongly implicated a conservative politician.
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it quickly became clear that the program had contained basic journalistic errors and a he resigned. his pay-off 450,000 pounds. the equivalent of 100 yards of sally. >> one of my constituents said to me, having heard of the bells an whiz ls attached to george's packet. he said to me if that's honorable, i'm a banana. i mean, do you think the world "honorable" was the project term that you should have used? >> you know the easiest thing i made this point yesterday is to join in the general trashing of a decent man.
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and i'm not going to do that. he worked with a considerable professional and ability for the bbc for a number of years, one of the extraordinary paradoxes about what's happens is that he was an extremely distinguished editor news night and indeed was the editor of news night which stood up against big pressure not to name his source in the case of david kelly. he's a decent man and he doesn't deserve to be bullied or to have his character demolished. i think what's happened is a small tragedy which has been made rather larger by --
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>> but lord pattern came in conflict. >> is there any time during this whole process that you have thought about your own question? >> are you the right person to beat? >> yes. but i've also, you know, i -- i -- i must be one of the few people that was asked to resign even before i was appointed. mr. davis managed to. \[laughter] and i think -- >> mine was -- \[laughter] >> i'm not sure about that. since you don't think the bbc should exist. >> i said it should exist. -- no, no. you've written. unless somebody's fogging -- that it isn't a fit
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organization. >> that seems to be like a way of saying the bbc shouldn't exist. anyway, back to the question. i think my job is to work with tim and to try to rebuild the reputation of the bbc as the greatest broadcaster in the world. >> can we have a copy of your itinerary on a regular basis about the work that you do? how much hours you spend? >> certainly not. >> why not? >> because -- i think you're entitled to know how much time i'm spending doing other things. if you think i'm going to do a diary for you in order to, in
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order to satisfy some populace pursuit for somebody who you didn't want to run an operation which you don't want to exist and you're kidding yourself. >> well, i mean -- what is the role? what is the role? do you want to name toilet habits? >> lord pattern and david davis. >> read the terms of a referendum on school independence. we will see a question put to the scottish people in 1953. >> s.m.p. developed a new plan. >> we want to make our own specific international contribution.
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complete the persia of the responsibility. they will be defining features of how we go forward as scottish people. >> so the debate has gun on what a yes vote in that referendum you might mean for scotland. the president of the european commission jose barrazo saying a new government will have to pay. he argued that if part of it would cease to become part of the e.u. they dismiss the reasoning behind his letter. >> he makes about a part of a country in ceasing to become part of that. there's no definition to that remark.
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i was struck on reading some advice about 12 months ago. and they plead the point in not document that there's provision for that provides for the scenario that pressing barrazo has cited in this part of the letter. >> on the one hand we have a considered letter from the president of the european community, commission. they didn't take legal advice. you are saying, no, no, we will be able to go.
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is that really a position that can be suck stained for a second single? >> yes, because i think the point at which the committee should be very interested in is the fact that there's no foundation and treaty for president. >> in a later session the committee heard from the secretary of state for scotland who strongly disagreed with him. i don't we have that there wasn't a problem. betland's member would automatic. terms and conditions would go as before. i think we have seen an after mass of the edinburgh agreements and in the weeks
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since. first of all, i commission that the head -- they have now had to consider the terms would have to stay. whether or not the member is automatic. it will be time a consuming process. we have the best one in the world. the u.k. has and then the interest of scotland's economy. perhaps we'll see that fulfill into other arguments as westminster review. >> there's anger in england not